Alcohol, like it or loathe it, has been part of the human diet for thousands of years. Today I explain how it is metabolised, what comprises a standard drink, the causes of a hangover and what the latest research has to say about the risks of alcohol consumption. Most importantly, I talk about the short and long term health effects of alcohol consumption. The safest option, from a health point of view, is to eschew it altogether. However, if you do choose to drink, I conclude with some tips about how to minimise the potential damage of alcohol consumption.